Greeting by Masaaki-sama
Paradise on Earth Service
June 15, 2019
Today, as before, we are holding this grand service at a borrowed venue. Today’s service is in Numazu, and the Grand Spring Service was in Osaka. Last year’s Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service was held in Shizuoka, right?
It was the Paradise on Earth Service that took place in Osaka exactly one year ago today when Kyoshu-sama began to attend grand services held at borrowed venues. There was something deeply moving about how a year has passed since that day and with those feelings, I took part in the service.
Until now, when we say “service,” the “Sacred Grounds” comes to mind. In those services until now, for example, I wonder whether every single word of Kyoshu-sama’s opening prayers, like in the services now, made this much of an impression deep in my heart and soul, or when I pray the Amatsu Norito and come together in thought with everybody, be so moved that I can no longer voice it out. I wonder: has anything like that happened before? Also, the greetings by our President, the representative of our church, are greetings filled with feelings of serving Kyoshu-sama.
Watching the video together, we are moved, we shed tears and feel joy. Then we listen to Kyoshu-sama’s message together. We laugh at the first joke and our hearts are in a softened state when we receive Kyoshu-sama’s messages.
And we sing “Ieji” with lyrics written by Kyoshu-sama – it has been exactly a year ago today since it was first presented. As we sing “Ieji” with everyone, we are like lost children but we come to know the existence of God and are able to go back to our true home, God’s home. From that joy, I cannot sing this song without being moved to tears each time. From the beginning to the end of the service, I am filled with such emotions.
Until just a little while ago, I attended the services at what we call the Sacred Grounds for a long time. But I wonder if I was moved by each and every thing as I have been in the grand services held now. And again, I truly wonder if I ever was so moved from simply praying the Amatsu Norito that I could no longer voice it out anymore.
As the location of the services changes each time, it takes much effort from all of you to come, such as on a rainy day like today or the means of your transportation and various other matters. However, I feel that above all else, the fact that we are able to hold this service together as one heart like this is the most important.
As Meishu-sama left us calligraphies such as “Heaven exists at the center of my heart” and “Paradise on earth exists within my heart,” even though we say, “Sacred Grounds,” the true Sacred Grounds exists within us.
Through the services we hold now, we are able to be joyful and be moved. Isn’t this because we are experiencing the joy that exists in the true Sacred Grounds that is within us, the joy of being together with God?
Indeed, each and every service is hard work for the staff and moving around is difficult for everyone. However, to God and Meishu-sama who have given us the permission to hold a service full of joy like this, I offer my sincere gratitude – with this thought, I take part in today’s Paradise on Earth Service.
After this service too, we may need to hold our services in various locations and it may cause all of you an inconvenience. But to be in one place like this and hear Kyoshu-sama’s Opening Prayer together, voice out the Amatsu Norito prayer as one heart, shed tears together and be joyful together, from here on too, I would like to attend these services together with all of you. I look forward to it.
Currently, we have the new leaflet, “Who We Are: We Were Born on Earth to Become Children of God.” From it, I hear about various thoughts and opinions. For example, there are people who say that “this is what Meishu-sama was truly wishing for!” and gladly distribute it. Or there are people who know nothing about Meishu-sama until now and when they read it, they feel happy.
On the other hand, there are people who say that these materials are different from what we used to distribute before and seemingly Christian, they cannot distribute it. Or some say that everything is moving so quickly, they cannot keep up.
What I hear in particular is how the material for distribution up until now clearly wrote about Johrei, so it was easy to give it to those who were sick. However, the current leaflet has nothing about Johrei and so it is difficult to hand out. Or people wonder with what kind of thought should they give the leaflet to someone who is sick. I hear this, too.
When we hand a leaflet to someone who is sick, I believe there are various thoughts and feelings that well up from within us, such as wanting to Johrei that person in any way possible, or wanting them to become a member. There are various other thoughts and feelings that we have.
But somewhere deep within our hearts, I believe we really want that person to be saved. I believe that deep within, we wish for them to enter the path of salvation one way or another and that is why we hand them the leaflet.
If that is the case, we really need to know what salvation truly is.
For us, the key to salvation is solely Meishu-sama. For us, Meishu-sama’s life, the path that he walked, is the guidepost to what salvation is.
As Kyoshu-sama has been teaching us for a long time, the conclusion to the life of salvation Meishu-sama led is what Meishu-sama said in his final years, “to be born anew as the Messiah.” This is the conclusion to Meishu-sama’s salvation.
This is what Meishu-sama said in the middle of showing symptoms of a brain hemorrhage. He did not say he was born anew as the Messiah after recovering from the brain hemorrhage. Rather, Meishu-sama was in the midst of pain, in the midst of showing symptoms of a brain hemorrhage, when he said, “I was born anew as the Messiah.”
Under normal circumstances, he would have fully healed from the brain hemorrhage and recovered, then say that he was a special being, that he was born anew as the Messiah. But Meishu-sama did not do so.
I believe Meishu-sama undoubtedly felt that there was something more important than whether or not you are healed from illness.
Meishu-sama received a message from God. That was, “You were born anew. You have become my child, the Messiah.” At that moment, Meishu-sama believed that this was true salvation.
At this time when he announced the birth of the Messiah, Meishu-sama said that this was a “miracle beyond a miracle.” We say it is a miracle when an illness is healed. This is what we think of as a “miracle.” But Meishu-sama said the birth of the Messiah was a “miracle beyond a miracle.”
That is to say, this time, Meishu-sama believed that there was an even greater miracle than the healing of illness; the real miracle, the true salvation.
As I just said, Meishu-sama left us a message in his final years. That is “to be born anew as the Messiah.” I believe this was Meishu-sama’s true message of salvation.
I believe that for us, too, salvation means nothing else other than Meishu-sama’s final conclusion of salvation, “to be born anew as a child of God – Messiah.”
In the distribution materials until now, for example, there was information about healing from illness through Johrei. There were the kind with a scientific basis saying that if you receive Johrei, you will receive this and that result.
However, there is something that we absolutely cannot overlook, something that we cannot forget, and that is, right now, there are people who are suffering from incurable diseases or conditions that can never be reversed or changed. Or there are those who have been purifying for a long period of time and no matter how much Johrei they receive, they do not get better. Rather, there are those who get worse, too. There are also those who have cancer or similar illnesses and may receive a lot of Johrei but pass away not having healed.
If for us, to heal from illness means salvation, are we going to say to someone with an incurable disease, “there is no salvation for you”? Or someone who, no matter how much Johrei they received or no matter how much effort they put into faith activities, they are not cured and prematurely die – are we going to say to their family, to the loved ones left behind, or to the person themselves, “there was no salvation for you”? I think this is wrong. Even if we didn’t actually utter these words but had the perception that “healing from illness means salvation,” I think it is very much the same thing.
But to tell you the truth, Meishu-sama revealed to us what true salvation is. That is, “whether you heal from illness or not, there is a greater salvation. You may have been born to parents of humans, but don’t you have a true parent? To meet that parent is the true joy and the true salvation.” I believe Meishu-sama was in great pain with the brain hemorrhage, but he left us this message of true salvation.
For Meishu-sama to say that he was born anew means that there is someone who bore him. There is no mistake that it is God. God bore Meishu-sama. And at that time, God named His own child. That name was “Messiah.” That is why Meishu-sama said that he was “born anew as the Messiah.” There is no other way to express it, is there?
The reason why Meishu-sama announced that he was born anew as the Messiah in the midst of his brain hemorrhage that was not healing, was because he was trying to show us from his own bodily experience that true salvation was not only for people who are healed from sickness, but there is also this salvation for those who are not healed. It is precisely because all of humanity, anyone without discrimination, can receive this chance, that makes this true salvation.
So what I want to convey to you today is that if you have the opportunity to hand this new leaflet out to someone, I believe we should hand it to someone who is ill, precisely to someone who is ill.
At that time, even if you say, “if you read this, you will get better,” I don’t think it is a bad thing. But in truth, I think it is good if you say something like, “if you read this, frankly, I don’t know if you will recover from your illness or not. But, I believe that what is written here is about true happiness and salvation.”
As a result, that person may reject you or they may accept it. But whichever way they turn, there is no mistake that the name of Messiah that is embedded with true salvation has reached them.
If they can think, even if for just a moment, “Ah, that’s it! Even if I die without having my illness healed, I am not an existence that cannot be saved. By meeting my true parent and being united to the name of Messiah, I have been saved,” wouldn’t that mean that we have been used, even if just a little, in Meishu-sama’s work of true salvation?
As I said a moment ago about the birth of Messiah, Meishu-sama said, “For humanity to be saved, ‘I’ have to appear.” Who is this “I”? Needless to say, it is the “Messiah” that was born anew within Meishu-sama. So, the above statement of Meishu-sama can also be read, “For humanity to be saved, the Messiah has to appear.”
This statement expressing Meishu-sama’s will is condensed into the leaflet that we are distributing now. If that is the case, is there any reason we should hesitate in handing this leaflet out to people? Of course, not. We can hand this leaflet out with confidence and conviction.
As Meishu-sama’s followers, I believe there is no greater joy for us than to be serving in the kind of work that makes Meishu-sama happy. So what then is Meishu-sama’s joy? It is, no less, to be born anew as the Messiah. Even though Meishu-sama found himself in the middle of pain, he had a joy that was great enough to drive the pain away. I believe Meishu-sama thought, “I have a true parent. I have been granted the name of Messiah. This is a joy that cannot be replaced by anything.”
One of Meishu-sama’s hymns reads: “I have realized this and want you to know – / To save all people is to teach them / The path of eternal life.” That is, he is saying that in order to save everyone, one must teach the path of eternal life. If you exclude the people whose sickness is incurable or who die prematurely even though they received much Johrei, is that salvation for “all people”? No! Didn’t Meishu-sama leave us with the truth of the birth of the Messiah, even in the midst of the brain hemorrhage that eventually made him pass away, so that we can truly save all humanity?
And so, to be able to serve on this path through the distribution of the leaflet that is embedded with Meishu-sama’s true message of salvation, I believe there could hardly be more joy for us as followers of Meishu-sama. And I believe that Meishu-sama, and God who is using Meishu-sama, are truly happy, too.
I believe that what Meishu-sama is wishing from us is to serve in the work of salvation that truly does not discriminate – people who are healed from illness, people who are not healed from illness – they can all be saved if they are united to the name of Messiah, the soul of Messiah, the soul of God! Because it is only God who possesses eternity. Where is salvation if you lose your life when you die on earth? You must attain eternity to attain true salvation. Where, then, is that something eternal? It is, of course, the soul existing within us – the soul of God, the soul God endowed with the most holy name, the name of Messiah.